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My supervisor started the e-mail thread of welcoming me to the team/department. Several team members has already replied (including the boss of my supervisor so I'm extra nervous) with a brief but warm welcome message. I was wondering what is the best way to reply in this thread.

This is my first fully remote role so I am not that familiar with how it works yet.

Would a short reply like "Thanks for the warm welcome, I'm excited to be working with everyone and I'm looking forward meeting you in the upcoming weeks." or Should I be adding my professional background/main tasks of my role/hobbies/etc. ?

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    Maybe, you should go with your short and warm reply. You will have lots of chances to interact with team members to talk about hobbies, etc... during the coming days, weeks, or months. Aug 30 at 5:06
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    What type of work, what is the company environment, how big is the company? A large financial sector company with a suit-and-tie environment would get a different e-mail than a chill small tech company with a flipflops-in-summer environment. What did your supervisor say (roughly)? (Usually your supervisor would say your name and role/which group you're joining/etc., so you wouldn't have to include that part.) Aug 30 at 15:26
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    This is not really a workplace issue, it is just an interpersonal one. There is no right answer here. It's not like they're going to fire you because you didn't list your professional background in an informal email chain. Don't overthink things like this.
    – Michael
    Sep 2 at 10:43
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Remote or Large workforces are much the same in this regard, the point of the email is simply to open communications, sometimes everyone will ignore it, sometimes the enthusiastic few will respond, those who respond will reflect the culture of the workplace just as much as your response will.

What is important in a Remote scenario is how you use this email as your tool for getting to know the key stakeholders in the workforce.

Delay replying

The answer from iBug is 100% spot on for this, but so is the advice from Freiheit, your response will likely end the end of this email chain, more importantly it signals the end of your "settling" in phase. Give everyone time across different timezones a chance to reach out to you, after all this is an informal exchange so it won't be hugh on their priority list yet. When you respond it will be informally accepted that you are "ready for work".

  • If you don't receive a lot of responses, or any right away, give it a few hours, but that in itself will be a reflection of the culture, its not a bad thing, it just is how it is, so if there is no response and you think it has been a reasonable passage of time for them to respond, then maybe it's just not how they do things, then you should reply to show you are not ignoring your supervisor... that is also important!

Setup your email signature.

In a remote role your first email sent to everyone is important for a number of reasons, no more so than just like plugging into the matrix, your first response will be your projection of your "Digital Self"

After getting a few responses you should get a feel for the general culture of the team, make sure your email signature matches those of other people who are working in a similar position. If there have been no examples to copy, which will be normal, most people don't include a signature on a reply, then copy the signature from your supervisor.

If you think about how remote workforces interact, you are likely to have some IM platform that will have a profile, that might be your O365, GSuite, GitHub profile or something else. Make sure this is setup, if no such things have been communicated to you then your email signature is all you've got, when everyone needs to find you, they'll do a search in their inbox and your signature will tell them how to communicate with you.

If you want to be contacted via phone or IM then include your phone number or handle. What is appropriate here is up to you, but if you put your phone number you are pretty much broadcasting to everyone that you want them to use it.

Content

As for the content of your message, a simple warm or positive response is all that is needed. For everyone else though, this is your first impression and you get one shot at that, so keep it brief but get some personality in there. I would avoid any "in-jokes" because lets face it, you're not quite "in" yet. If this is an international organisation then you should use localised terms, especially if you think they would be internationally recognisable, I would also encourage injecting any cultural references that you feel are important. For those too lazy to look elsewhere, your response is all they know about you and for good or bad, will be their only reference when they do need to communicate with you.

Be approachable and Humble

As listed above, for everyone else, the email from your supervisor, and your response probably makes up 99% of what they know about you. Its not just facts though, its the inference too. A formal, flowery and long-winded response is boring, no one will read it, and you can guess what they will think of you... A one liner will be similar.

You want the recipient to feel like they could contact you if they needed to. They may never need to, but you certainly don't want to alienate the other existing and perhaps long standing members of the team, especially those whose aspirations you may have trampled by accepting the position. So be Humble, thank everyone and talk to how you will try to meet their high standards.

  • The one exception to this is where your role is specifically to improve everyone else, even in this situation you will not win any friends by being condescending.

Who are you, to them?

Put yourself in the recipient's shoes, they get 50 emails a day, so they don't want to have to scroll through your life story, they want an at-a-glance view of who you are and what you mean to them. In the workplace this means roles and responsibilities. You should be very aware of what these are as part of the recruitment/employment process. If you are not, or if your role is ambiguous, this is your one shot to set the record straight.

For traditional roles putting the position in your email signature is usually enough, for some more obscure or non-traditional or more specific roles, it may help if you can

What is your availability

Again with the profile elements, but in a remote workplace this can be crucial. This is an example of someone who just came to mind:

G'day Team!
Thanks for your warm welcomes, I'm excited to be a part of this team and I'm looking forward meeting everyone in the upcoming weeks.

If you need me urgently I'm always on Teams. After work you'll find me out the back playing basketball with my kids, or the dogs, but they're not too good at it yet...

Cheers!

Quirky Toad
.Net Technical Lead
Really Cool Software
Melbourne, Australia (UTC+10)

The key here is that it fits in most small email preview panes and still captures some personality and hobbies in a conversational tone, instead of sending a bullet list of your attributes. Pick one or two topics, what you show here will be perceived to be the most important things to you, whether they are or not is up to you, but for everyone else, it is clear that these topics are OK to talk about in public and will form the basis of small talk when we get to those awkward pauses in online meetings and your supervisor can't figure out how to approve the stragglers in from the lobby.

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  • I disagree that a "thank you" mail to the introductory email thread signals the end of the "settling in" phase. "Settling in" phases often take days for a semi-formal intro process to weeks until you're fully productive in your new role. A "thank you" mail to the introductory email should be sent no later than a few days after you joined.
    – florian
    Sep 2 at 8:41
  • as I said, time it based on the feedback you get from everyone else, and yes 2 days is an absolute outside, but once you reply-all it really ends this conversation. And yeah I get you're not fully ready, but it is an indication that you are ready to interact with the team. In my experience, that's when teh flood gates open ;) But it will depend on your role too. Sep 2 at 11:45
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Since the welcome thread is mostly... just welcoming, it'd be unnecessary for you to make a lengthy reply about other things. Think it like a "I'm fine, thank you" response to "How are you" greetings. You'll have a lot more time to introduce yourself to your fellows, including lunchtime, tea breaks etc, so don't worry about this.

Often the best time to make your brief reply is on day 2, to give everyone interested a chance to send the greetings. This is because your reply usually signals the end of this welcoming thread.

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    "your reply usually signals the end of this welcoming thread" - is this generally what happens in practice? I can imagine most would-be repliers replying regardless of whether or not the welcomed employee has replied themselves. I can also imagine a new employee having introductory meetings and getting everything set up, so they may naturally just reply later than most other people. So if you often observe it "ending the thread", it might just be correlation and not causation (which would also apply if they're intentionally holding off on replying). Aug 30 at 14:22
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    The OP says "Another thing to note is this is my first fully remote role" and you answer with "You'll have a lot more time to introduce yourself to your fellows, including lunchtime, tea breaks etc, so don't worry about this.". I am guessing that no, there won't be any lunchtimes or tea breaks.
    – Stef
    Aug 30 at 15:14
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    @Stef That must have slipped through my eyes when I was reading. OTOH, it could also be interpreted as casual chats during break times, which can more or less bring the same chances.
    – iBug
    Aug 31 at 3:46
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    @Stef: That should definitely be a separate paragraph, and maybe even mentioned in the title, in the question, since as you say it means there won't be any in-person chit-chat! I'll submit an edit. Although there may still be some video chat idle time or time set aside for introductions, IDK. Aug 31 at 4:29
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    If the new hire's reply signals the end of the thread, no one has told my team about that. Aug 31 at 13:10
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Would a short reply like "Thanks for the warm welcome, I'm excited to be working with everyone and I'm looking forward meeting you in the upcoming weeks."

Yes

Should I be adding my professional background/main tasks of my role/hobbies/etc. ?

No.

That type of detail is "need/reason to know" and not for general consumption. Talk about your hobbies in a socially appropriate context (lunch, water cooler, etc) and talk about your professional background/role with the people you work with directly and only when this is actually relevant to the current topic.

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    Some companies encourage new employees to share an intro of themselves with the company / department / whomever featuring hobbies and things, but I agree that a welcome thread started by someone else isn't really the place for that (unless they specifically ask for it). Aug 30 at 14:10
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    Every company I've ever been at in the meeting they introduce you to the team (or email, etc) will ask for a brief fact or two about you for color. Mentioning one or two hobbies here is not mandatory, but would be absolutely professional and normal. Aug 30 at 14:50
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    It's a remote role, so lunch and water cooler chats will be sort of difficult... Aug 31 at 14:30
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Since the position is fully remote, I think it would be appropriate to reply with:

  • Friendly "thank you" as OP stated
  • Your full and correct email signature. Follow the norms at your company, if everyone else has phone and title and pronouns, make sure your signature has those. If they just use a short signature, make sure your contact details are up to date in whatever your company uses as a directory.
  • Specific to the remote role - Your general location and time zone. Languages spoken may also be valuable for international companies. This can open up opportunities to meet professionally for lunch or drinks with another remote worker in the same area. It also helps you and your new coworkers offset meeting times to be within sane hours for your local time zones.

The idea from @iBug to reply on the 2nd day is good.

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  • Oh, your third point is especially good.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 31 at 13:13
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"Thanks for the warm welcome, I'm excited to be working with everyone and I'm looking forward meeting you in the upcoming weeks."

Your suggested reply is perfect. Stop fretting.

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  • without an explanation, this answer may become useless in case if someone else posts an opposite opinion. For example, if someone posts a claim like "Your first answer is far perfect. Fretting is justified.", how would this answer help reader to pick of two opposing opinions? Consider editing it into a better shape, to meet How to Answer guidelines
    – gnat
    Aug 31 at 10:13
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    Can you make it more clear "answer" refers to something in the question, not some answer here (by editing/changing your answer)?. For instance, use another word, like "proposed response" or "proposed reply". Or quote the proposed reply. (But without "Edit:", "Update:", or similar - the answer should appear as if it was written right now) Aug 31 at 14:11
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    I agree. What if the OP edits the question and changes the order of the answers or rewords them? Quote the answer you approve of. In other words: "Your answer (xxxx) is perfect. Stop fretting". Sep 1 at 10:28
  • Yeah that's pretty much the answer. I used to be so worried what everyone thought and that even the least important conversations would cause people to judge me. Worry less and do more, that's how you'll gain their respect.
    – Sam Orozco
    Sep 1 at 21:47
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You don't need to respond to this email chain at all. It's assumed that you received those welcome messages and possibly read them. If you're not comfortable in replying to them, then don't.

If you do want to reply, then a simple "Thanks everyone for the warm welcomes!" is fine. Depending on the company, you may or may not be prompted by your manager and/or HR at some point to write an introduction note to your coworkers. At that time, you can share that information, like your role, hobbies, etc. It's generally good for the company to prompt you to do that, because it facilitates camaraderie ("Oh, you like LOCAL_SPORTS_TEAM? I also like LOCAL_SPORTS_TEAM, what do you think about STAR_PLAYER this season?"), but not every company does. If your manager doesn't prompt you to write an introduction email within your first couple days, you may want to prompt your manager to prompt you to write one, just because it does facilitate camaraderie and that helps create a better work environment. If your manager says it's not necessary, then it's not necessary; some companies are just like that.

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  • I would expect the hiring manager to be the one writing the introduction. They learned the background of the new employee during the interview process and can include the information that's relevant to the audience based on their own knowledge of the team and company culture.
    – Theodore
    Aug 30 at 17:56
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    Not necessarily. At my company, HR sends a survey as part of onboarding and then shares that survey verbatim in the welcome message for each employee.
    – Ertai87
    Aug 30 at 17:57
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    Absolutely do reply with a thank you. Here is a good reason from linguistics professor Jean Berko Gleason: youtu.be/7y7Vn9TEnM4?t=56
    – Theodore
    Aug 30 at 18:01
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I will disagree with other answers: apply the desk decoration test. If the culture of the company is such that you would keep some decoration on your desk that related to your personal life (picture of your pet, funny mug about your hobby, whatever) then you can include something relating to your personal life in your intro e-mail (if you want to).

It basically serves the same purpose as having something on your desk: it marks a topic as being safe to ask about. Since a lot of people have things they don't want to talk about*, having a clear indication of a good topic is a kindness to your teammates, and will make it a lot easier for them to start talking to you. You don't need to go into any detail, just enough so that the topic has been opened and people can talk to you personally if they want to. (*And some people don't want to talk about anything.)

The main difference between remote and in person is being more deliberate about sharing information, since a lot of cues (e.g. the funny desk mug) are missing. (As well as deliberate communication about work-related things, instead of "just have an open office plan and everyone will collaborate automatically"...ha, ha.)

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You were lucky enough to end up in a workplace that seems personal enough, that the welcome messages actually sounded warm and welcoming. Personally, I would add something along the lines of "I'm hoping to meet you guys in person or over an online drink soon, to get to know you."

But the actual reason I write this answer, is to remind you to take things easy. Either message would have been fine, neither could have let to a distaster! Try working on not overthinking simple things, and trusting your gut/first ideas. It will make your (work) life a lot easier. If it leads you wrong some day, you can blame it on me.

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It's human nature believe it or not for people to want to help, show or instruct others so use this to your advantage because you won't be able to later on. Very graciously thank everyone for the welcome and then fall on your sword and concede very briefly and in the tamest way express your appreciation for those who will bare with you and understand that there are things you will have to learn and appreciate their understanding and help........ I am truly taken back at how welcomed I have been made to feel. I look forward to working with and getting to know you all. I'm hoping to get up to speed as quickly as possible and appreciate in advance your patience and understanding in learning the ways of this new endeavor. I am so excited and grateful to be here. Thank you all again.

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